WE WANTED to get 200 people to sign on to the blood donor register.
But we’ve smashed our target thanks to the huge number of News readers who backed our Give Blood campaign.
So far, a whopping 426 people have registered to roll up their sleeves.
That’s 163 more new donors compared to the same period of time last year.
The News worked with NHS Blood and Transplant, which organises blood collection, to help them keep stocks up for the future.
And it is astounded by the response generated.
Lead donor relations manager for the NHSBT south east region John Canning said: ‘The number of people who we have had sign up following The News’ campaign has been amazing.
‘I’m pleased to announce that we have surpassed the initial target set.
‘We’d like to say a big thank you to all the people who have registered to give blood this year and we hope that the campaign has enabled you to see just how important blood donation is.
‘However, while this is a great achievement, the need for blood is constant.
‘So please, if you haven’t yet registered or are still thinking about it, then call us to get more information or sign up online.
‘Donating blood is free, doesn’t take very long and can save the life of up to three people.’
Margaret Hay, the curate of St Thomas The Apostle at Elson, has been giving blood since she was a student.
The 65-year-old said: ‘The success of the campaign is absolutely fantastic.
‘It doesn’t take long to give blood – I do it four times a year.’
And giving blood helped cure Amanda Cousins of her fear of needles.
The 46-year-old, of Graham Road, now goes to the sessions with her daughter, Lucy.
She said: ‘My sister suggested it would cure my fear and it did.
‘When my daughter was old enough, I encouraged her to give blood because you never know when you’ll need it yourself.’
As previously reported in The News, although NHSBT said it collects the 7,000 units of blood required each day, it was worried this might not be the case in the future as the number of young donors continue to drop.
Around 40 per cent of all donors in England and Wales fall into the 17 to 24-year-old bracket, but the number of new donors in that age category has been falling steadily by 20 per cent over the past 10 years.
And this year there has been a 50 per cent drop in 17 and 18-year-olds registering to donate compared with last year.
So The News got on board to help drive up numbers.
Editor Mark Waldron said: ‘Yet again the people of Portsmouth and the surrounding areas have shown how they can step up in a time of need.
‘I’m overwhelmed at the number of people that registered to donate blood.
‘I extend my thanks to each and every new donor and am pleased that we could help the NHS.’
People can visit blood.co.uk and register online.
Or to get more information, ring the 24-hour helpline 0300 1232323.